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Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion$
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Stephen J. Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217216

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217216.001.0001

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The Scepter of Orthodoxy

The Scepter of Orthodoxy

The Cult of the Virgin and the Council of Ephesus

(p.205) Chapter Six The Scepter of Orthodoxy
Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion

Stephen J. Shoemaker

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the role of the cult of the Virgin in the controversies leading up to the Council of Ephesus as well as its outcome. Toward the end of the twentieth century, a number of studies addressed the impact that an already vibrant Marian piety seems to have had in galvanizing the resistance to Nestorius in Constantinople and elsewhere. These studies also often identify the Empress Pulcheria as an instrumental figure who was particularly responsible for deploying Marian devotion to orchestrate Nestorius’s downfall. More recent scholarship, however, has cast some doubt on the extent of Pulcheria’s involvement in both the promotion of the early Marian cult and Nestorius’s demise. This chapter first considers the controversy involving Nestorius stemming from the issue of Marian veneration before discussing his rift with Pulcheria. It then looks at Pulcheria’s relationship with Proclus, along with her participation in the cult of the Virgin and personal devotion to Mary. It also considers how much popular devotion to Mary in Constantinople and elsewhere may have actually contributed to Nestorius’s ultimate demise.

Keywords:   Council of Ephesus, Marian piety, Nestorius, Constantinople, Empress Pulcheria, Marian devotion, Marian cult, Marian veneration, Proclus, Mary

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